Definition of jetsam in English:



mass noun
  • Unwanted material or goods that have been thrown overboard from a ship and washed ashore, especially material that has been discarded to lighten the vessel.

    ‘there was plenty of good kindling among the jetsam on the beach’
    Compare with flotsam
    figurative ‘the jetsam of technology’
    • ‘But like lefties everywhere, clinging to whatever jetsam keeps us afloat, I believe every revolution ere now was betrayed.’
    • ‘Liberation simply travels, picking up junk and jetsam along the way, discarding it somewhere downstream, and rambling on.’
    • ‘Tony Williams is a pitiful wretch, on the jetsam on the shore of the Anacostia.’
    • ‘Scuba girl grabs a handful of abrasive jetsam, rubs it in the zombie's face, and makes her escape.’
    • ‘But others have realized that something could be made of the jetsam.’
    • ‘While this may require more filtering to remove jots of jetsam, it is neither too salty due to constant mixing with sea-water, nor too earthy, due to proximity to soil.’
    • ‘The women were blonde because they were hairdressers, not jet-set jetsam.’
    • ‘Of these, the real scene-stealer is the good old-fashioned jetsam.’
    • ‘I kick indifferently among the jetsam that has sedimented up against the curb somebody once painted white and then forgot about.’
    • ‘Preston's troupe preferred to circumvent the chaotic jetsam of the central areas by focusing their efforts on the flanks.’
    • ‘Those years and four children later, I was among the jetsam of my husband's midlife crisis.’
    • ‘I love how when you look up flotsam in the dictionary it says jetsam.’
    • ‘Flotsam and jetsam drifted from the yacht, some having already washed ashore.’
    • ‘It is uninhabited by man, but his mark is there: a convenient stake in the ground for dinghy tie up and, of course, the endless jetsam on the windward shore.’
    • ‘I tell him I don't know what either flotsam or jetsam mean beyond their colloquial connotations.’
    • ‘I think that's one of the reasons I love my matchbook collection - these ordinary bits of jetsam are exactly today what they were back then.’


Late 16th century (as jetson): from jettison.